This poem is from Autumn Leaves:
The first men on our shores had freedom,
But little time to truly experience it
As they struggled to make their place and tame this big land.
Building, hunting, foraging, and planting consumed much of their energy,
But they had freedom.
Later, men struggled in chains,
Dying to secure richer lives for their owners.
Throughout their lives of trials and tribulations,
They held to their dreams tenaciously —
Their dreams of freedom.
Later still, men fought and died by the thousands in great wars
To stop tyrants and secure freedom more concretely.
They fought, bled and died to uphold
Our country’s cherished principles,
But these men died, knowing freedom.
Even later, men who knew freedom’s sweetness and blessings
Let it erode because of greed, indifference,
Lust for material wealth and apathy.
Blinded by these pursuits,
They became disillusioned and let it slip away.
Ironic? Yes! Men who realized freedom,
But no time to fully appreciate it.
Men who didn’t have it and could only dream of its possession.
Men who knew it and died fighting to hold it.
Men without vision who let it slip away like a thief in the night.